Carey Mulligan reveals she hates the 'strong woman' label in film

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The Independent Culture

Carey Mulligan has revealed that she dislikes the “strong woman” label in Hollywood because it suggests that female characters are “inherently weak”.

The British actress plays the lead as a determined women’s rights activist in upcoming drama Suffragette but does not believe society is equal almost a century after the film’s events.

Mulligan, best known for Far From the Madding Crowd and The Great Gatsby, still finds herself offered far more parts as love interests than protagonists.

“You don’t say to men, ‘You played another really strong man’. The idea that women are inherently weak and we’ve identified the few strong ones to tell stories about…is mad,” she told Elle for its feminism issue.

“A lot of the stuff I read is playing so-and-so’s wife, so-and-so’s girlfriend. That’s not where the story is: I want to play him.”

Mulligan added that she does not dream of a world “run by women”, but is a firm believer in equality, something she thinks humanity is “still so far from”. 

The 30-year-old is among a host of leading ladies to speak out about sexism and ageism in the film industry. Patricia Arquette called for pay equality in her Oscars acceptance speech, Maggie Gyllenhaal railed against being deemed too old to play a 55-year-old man’s lover aged just 37 and this week, Jessica Chasten denounced the “sexualisation” of women in superhero movies. 

Last month, George Clooney encouraged screenwriters to rejig major roles penned for men so that women could play them too.

The full interview with Mulligan appears in the November issue of Elle, on sale tomorrow. 

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